It is believed that the inventor of the bottle mail is the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, who, in the 4th century BC, sent messages in bottles in order to track the flow of water in the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1914, Captain Brown from Scotland threw a bottle into the sea with a note, in which he promised to pay 6p to whoever caught the message. After 97 years, the bottle was caught by the crew of the Scottish ship Copious. But Captain Brown was long gone by that time.
True, the message in the bottle did not always have to wait in the wings for decades. For example, in 2005 migrants from Ecuador and Peru were much more fortunate. More than 80 people on an old boat tried to reach the US coast, but were caught in a storm. In desperation, they threw a bottle with a note in which they asked for help. Soon the letter was caught by a fisherman from Costa Rica. They managed to save the people and the ship.
American pastor George Phillips decided to fight alcoholism with the help of bottle mail. Picking up empty alcohol bottles, he put moral sermons in them and threw them into the waters of Puget Sound, where the current is very strong. Soon the pastor began to receive letters from people who caught unusual messages. Some even claimed that the sermons of George Phillips helped to get rid of the addiction.
The Japanese treasure hunter Matsuyama in 1784, while hunting for treasures, got into a violent storm with his comrades and ended up on a desert island. Matsuyama, realizing that he was doomed to death, sent a note in a bottle, hoping that someday his tragic fate would be learned in his native Japanese village. Interestingly, the bottle was thrown away near his village, but only after 134 years.
Richard Platzt of Germany did not fall victim to the shipwreck. He just decided to check how far the bottle he threw out, in which he put two stamps and his address in Berlin, could swim. The letter to this address, indeed, came, but only in 2014, and was handed over to the great-grandson of Richard Platzt.
But the American researcher Dean Bumpus sent bottle mail for scientific purposes, to study ocean currents. From 1956 to 1972, he sent about 300, 000 letters on the voyage. True, only one tenth of the letters received answers.
Sailor James Gleason tried to find his soul mate with the help of bottle mail. In 1895, he threw a letter in the Atlantic Ocean in which he offered his hand and heart to a woman who "does not grumble and cooks well." Found a letter in 1956 at the Irish port of Queenstown. An attempt to find Gleason was unsuccessful: he died along with his ship "Victoria" in 1900, and did not manage to get married.